Landmark landlord licensing scheme

Rent Smart Wales, a new registration and licensing scheme, will prevent rogue landlords and agents from letting and managing properties in Wales. It will also raise awareness by landlords, agents and tenants of their respective rights and responsibilities.

From now on:

•all private landlords will be required to register with Rent Smart Wales. They will also have to register their properties

•if a landlord wants to manage the property themselves, they must demonstrate they are ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence, and then undertake, and pass, approved training

•alternatively, they will be able to appoint a licensed agent to manage the property on their behalf.

Landlords and agents have one year to comply with their new legal obligations, without fear of legal action.

Minister with responsibility for housing, Lesley Griffiths, said:

“With around one in seven homes in Wales now privately rented, a strong sector with good working practices is absolutely vital.

“I am proud Wales is leading the way on improving professionalism across the private rented sector. Our new, landmark scheme will drive up standards by making Wales the first country in the UK where managing landlords and agents are required to undertake training to ensure they are clear on their responsibilities.

“The changes will prevent rogue, and even criminal, landlords and agents from being involved in the management and letting of properties. This will help to protect tenants in the private rented sector – including students, lone parents and young families.

“Rent Smart Wales will also support good landlords and agents by helping them keep abreast of their responsibilities and legal obligations, and raising the reputation of the sector as a whole.”

The City of Cardiff Council is the licensing authority for Rent Smart Wales. Cllr Bob Derbyshire, City of Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said:

“As the Single Licensing Authority for Rent Smart Wales, the Council is delighted to be working with Welsh Government to deliver these important new registration and licensing requirements.

“Wales really is setting the standard with Rent Smart Wales, which will professionalise the private rented sector – an increasingly important housing option for many people.

“By supporting and educating landlords and agents for the benefit of tenants, Rent Smart Wales aims to improve the practices of landlords and agents and help to tackle the bad landlords who give the sector a poor reputation.”

The Rent Smart Wales scheme will, for the first time, allow local councils to fully identify all of the private rented properties within their local area, making it easier for them to work closely with landlords on ensuring high rental standards are being met.

Cllr Dyfed Edwards (Gwynedd), WLGA spokesperson for housing said:

“The private rental sector is playing an increasingly important role in meeting housing needs in Wales, and with the launch of the Rent Smart Wales scheme local councils will be able to fully identify all of the private rented properties within their local area.

“This new scheme is a welcome addition to the enforcement options already available, and we hope it will help local councils work more closely with landlords and lettings agents to improve services for tenants in the private rented sector in Wales.”